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By Arie Egozi
Concerns are growing regarding terror organization ISIS trying to build a dirty atom bomb. These past few months intelligence services in the West are trying to detect these attempts but it seems that the terror organization is several steps ahead of those trying to prevent it from succeeding.
Yesterday it was published that Iraq is looking for “extremely dangerous” radioactive materials stolen last year. There is a fear that those materials will fall into the hands of the Islamic State to be used as weapons, states a report by the Iraqi Ministry of the Environment.
The materials were stored in a secure bag and disappeared last November from a storage facility next to the city of Basra at the south of Iraq belonging to the American oil company Weatherford.
The report, which was sent to the Ministry of the Environment’s center for radiation prevention, reports a “theft of very dangerous radioactive material” – ir 192 – an Iridium isotope, used among other things in cancer treatments, as it is lethal to cancer cells. The material stolen, which could also be used for “dirty bombs”, belong to Turkish SGC which conducts exams and mappings of various materials.
According to evidence, the missing bag contains capsules of ir-192 weighing 10 grams. The material does not exist naturally in nature, unlike other Iridium isotopes, and is rated by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a level 2 in radioactivity.
If treatment is not done according to regulations, it could cause great damage to its immediate surroundings and could be lethal to those exposed to it for hours or days. The material’s effectiveness, however, wears down quite fast over time.
Intelligence sources constantly warn in recent years from a terror group trying to carry out a mega-attack using a dirty bomb.
This dirty bomb is called by many “poor man’s a-bomb”. The name does not do justice to the level of damage this bomb can cause. Experts say that an explosion of such a bomb can cause thousands of direct and secondary casualties due to radiation.
A dirty bomb is a regular bomb made up of normal explosives materials along with some radioactive material. The bomb’s explosion causes the radioactive material to spread across a large radius. The losses, experts say, will be caused by the explosion itself, by the radiation, and by the panic spreading out in the area where such a bomb exploded.
Experts say that it takes only basic knowledge of assembling explosives in order to make a dirty bomb. It can be tiny or huge, made up of several hundreds kg of explosives along several dozen kg of radioactive material. A car such as the one carrying the explosives in New York’s times square can hold “a very powerful” dirty bomb, experts say.
The radioactive materials which can be used to make such a bomb are to be found in many places.
The concern for Americans is the use of radioactive materials of the kind that disappeared, according to some sources, from several facilities after the Soviet Union. Some reports point to gangs who traded these materials, which eventually found their way to different terror organizations, among them Al Qaeda, and now ISIS.
Experts say that the dirty bomb cannot be compared to an actual nuclear bomb, but an explosion of such a primitive device in a crowded area such as an airport of a center of a city will cause many casualties.